Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel

GARY SIMON joined the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau in 1966 as a member of the Convention Sales/Services Department. In April of 2001 he was named director of the newly created Multicultural Affairs Department. The mission of the department is to promote the diversity and cultural heritage of the Sacramento region, while increasing Sacramento's share of the multicultural convention and tourism markets.

Since 2001 Simon's department has coordinated Sacramento's Juneteenth Festival - A festival that celebrates the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Nearly 8,000 people attended last year's festival. In addition, the department created the "Ethnic Village" portion of the Gold Rush Days event ion Old Sacramento.

The department supports many of Sacramento's ethnic festivals, these include: Mexican Independence Day, Meadowview Jazz Festival, Pacific Rim Festival, Chinese New Year, Hmong Festival, Chinese Mall Celebration, Native American Day and Festival De La Familia.

Simon is a member of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners, International Association of Hispanic Meeting Planners, National Forum of Black Public Administrators, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc, and Sacramento's Hispanic, Black and Asian Chambers of Commerce.

He's been married to Latonia for thirteen years, they have a three year old daughter, Laylah Renae.

CALVIN TAYLOR is vice president of Bureau Development for the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau. Taylor works closely with state government, city officials and the local hospitality industry in enhancing the development and growth of Memphis tourism. Additionally, he oversees the day-to-day needs of the MCVB's 500+ subscribers. As co-founder of the Beale Street Development Corp., the organization that re-introduced the historic district as a tourist destination, Taylor has also worked as the PR director for Southland Racing Corp., the Southeast's largest pari-mutuel waging center. Taylor is also a member of the national Coalition of Black Meeting Planners and serves on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Tourism Roundtable. Taylor is currently the president of the Tennessee Association of convention and Visitors Bureaus.

ALBERT TUCKER serves as vice president of Multicultural Business Development for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. In his role, Tucker is responsible for developing partnerships and alliances with community, civic and business leaders both locally and nationally to attract a larger number of multicultural meetings and conventions, as well as family reunions to Greater Fort Lauderdale. For the past eight years, Tucker has helped increase multicultural participation in the tourism and convention sales market by more than 60%. During summer 2007 more than 100 family reunions chose Greater Fort Lauderdale as their gathering place, along with other multicultural business produced an economic impact of more than $55 million to the community.

Tucker has been the visionary in the development of The Gospel Complex for Education and Preservation, which will be located in Lauderhill, FL. This $50 million project will provide the gospel music industry with a home to preserve the rich history of this genre and will serve as a center for economic and educational empowerment for all. The Gospel Complex is scheduled for completion in early 2011. Tucker currently serves on the Executive Board of the Urban League of Broward County and is a member of the 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale. He is also a member of the State's Multicultural Committee for VISIT FLORIDA.

W. BILL WILLIAMS, JR., CMP serves as vice president, Diversity/Sales of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau. Williams, who was born in the Morgan Park Community of Chicago, has been with the CCTB for three decades covering the Social, Military, Education/Ethnic, Religious and Fraternal (SMERF) Market, and is a veteran of over 40 years in the hospitality industry. A graduate of Chicago State University with a business degree, Williams is a founding board member of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners, as well as a founding board member of the Chicago Chapter of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP). He is a former Marine and a lifetime member of Kappa Alpha PSI Fraternity, (Williams became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi in 1981 and a life member in 1983. He was inducted in the Chicago Heights Alumni Chapter and moved into the Chicago Alumni Chapter in 1985), He is a 33rd Degree Mason and a Shriner. He is also a member of Who's Who Among Black Americans and holds membership in a number of other organizations, including the Religious Conference Management Association, Christian Meeting Association, International Association of Hispanic Meeting Professionals, NAACP, Christian Meetings & Convention Association, Urban League and Rainbow Push Coalition, among others.

FLOYD WILLIAMS, JR., CMP, serves as director of National Accounts and Tradeshows for the Jackson (MS) Convention & Visitors Bureau. Williams works with organizations such as Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, 100 Black Men of America, National Conference of Black Mayors, African American Episcopal Church, American Tennis Association and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators Southern Regional Convention, NAACP South East Region, and the USSSA Black American World Series. He served on the NCBMP planning committee and was prior director of Conventions for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Southern Region. Williams is active in National Pan-Hellenic Council, Leadership Jackson Alumni Association and Jackson State National Alumni Association, and currently serves as a board chair for Big Brother and Big Sister, and chair of the Alpha Foundation Board. A life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and a member of Pearl Street A.M.E. Church, he received his Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation in 2003.

AHMEENAH YOUNG is an accomplished senior executive in the tourism and hospitality industry with outstanding credentials and a proven record of results. Across all of her professional posts she has consistently maintained diligent focus on growth in productivity and made bottom-line profitability a priority.

As president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Young recommends and implements all contractual and vendor services, directs all recruiting processes and participates in selection of PCCA employees. She oversees marketing, public relations and customer service programs as well as development of budgets, financial policies and fiscal controls for the operation of the PCCA.

Young currently sits on boards for Sunoco Welcome America!, Temple University's School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Art Sanctuary, MANNA, North Philadelphia Health Systems, Philadelphia Academies, National Forum for Black Public Administrators, Mount Airy USA, and the Philadelphia Airport. She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.